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Friday, May 13, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Mutiny in the Syrian Army leads to killing of 35 soldiers

WASHINGTON — The Syrian opposition has reported the quelling of a brief mutiny in the Army.


Opposition sources said a Syrian Army officer led a mutiny in the northern city of Homs. They said the officer, identified as Safok Khalifa, refused orders to fire on civilians who had been protesting the regime of President Bashar Assad.

"A mutiny, led by by Army officer Safok Khalifa for refusing to fire against civilians in Homs, ended up killing him and 35 soldiers in his unit," the Reform Party of Syria said.

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The Washington-based opposition group said Khalifa as well as most of his soldiers were members of the Bu Saraya tribe. RPS has reported on Assad intelligence agents who arrested or shot at soldiers for refusing orders to fire at civilians.

Homs has been deemed a center of the revolt. The Syrian Army has been shelling Homs while the Alawite mercenary force Shabiha was shooting toward suspected opponents of the regime.

The opposition has reported that the regime arrested more than 11,000 civilians as part of the crackdown. The sources said Syrian security forces have kept many of the detainees in soccer stadiums for lack of prison space.

The regime has acknowledged army and security force operations in Homs. Military sources said Islamist snipers have killed Syrian soldiers in the provinces of Homs and Dera.

Over the last few weeks, Syrian state-owned television has broadcast purported confessions from suspected insurgents. Some of the detainees said they had been ordered by foreign elements to attack Syrian soldiers and bomb installations.

"Ten meters of the oil field between Baniyas and Homs were mined, and mines were also planted in Banias entrance opposite Al Marqab castle," Ismail Al Bayyasi, charged with murder, told the television broadcasters.

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